Gambling is fairly restricted in Japan, but as well as the very popular horses, there is keirin, and, a little more unusually, boat racing (kyotei). Yet despite the latter in particular being the sport of kings pitifully poor relative, on a sunny day it does at least offer a surprisingly pleasant setting.
The novelty of extremely powerful little boats whizzing round an oval course, however, does rather quickly wear off, and pretty soon it just becomes about the winning — of money. No soaking up the sun and enjoying the view. Not even a relaxing time communing with the koi. Just heads down, guide studying gambling.
The boat racing powers that be on the other hand are much more inclined to push the sport’s supposedly sexy side, with ads and promotional posters often painting it in a ludicrously glamorous light. Sometimes even in a futuristic, utterly unfathomable light too. Scenes that are about as far from the reality as it’s possible to get.
With the call to ‘be dynamite’ lost in way more than mere translation.
Ha, love the “Be Dynamite” shot! Funny! 🙂
I was very happy with that one. Couldn’t have set it up better if I’d tried!
Hans ter Horst says
Great reportage, once again shedding a clinical view of a virtually unknown side of Japan.
I don’t really get it the way gambling is handled in Japan: Las Vegas style casinos where there would be a lot of control and that would bring a lot of money to fill the deficit are not allowed, but cycling or boat races that are very easy to fix are perfectly fine…
Thanks a lot!
I know. Doesn’t make sense, does it? Having watched both the cycling and boat racing, it’s hard to imagine races not being fixed. And as for gambling potentially affecting the likes of baseball and sumo, we sadly know all too well that the latter doesn’t need any outside influences at all to be utterly corrupted…
Similarly I don’t get the aversion to casinos, especially when we have so many gaudy, horrendously noisy pachinko parlours everywhere. But I guess that’s technically not gambling!